Kiddar Capital CEO Todd Hitt on Varney & Co: 
The National Skilled Labor Shortage

Fox Business

May 8, 2018


Kiddar Capital CEO Todd Hitt explains on Varney & Co. how to address the skilled labor shortage and labor mobility crises.


Payne: For the skills gap we are going to bring in Todd Hitt, Kiddar Capital CEO. Todd, we’ve been hearing this for a long time where there was a lack of welders and so forth. But this is becoming something of an epidemic.

Hitt: It is. Fundamentally across America, and specifically across Middle America, we have a lack of workers to fill these jobs. This labor shortage has been coming -- for a year we've been talking about it, and finally Washington is now starting to actually look at it and address it. I just recently wrote a letter to the Ways and Means Committee on this very issue, and they’re starting to take these things up. The first solution is, they know they’ve got a problem.

Payne: What do you want Washington to do about it?

Hitt: I think in terms of private businesses, we need to increase mobility across America so that people are actually moving again. Thirty years ago, 22% of Americans picked up and moved. That's what we do. We're Americans. We pick up and move where we see opportunity. Now it's down to 11% over that 30 years.

That's significant, and it’s something that we need to really focus on and look at. Why is that happening? It's really lack of vocational training, lack of apprenticeships now, in the last 10 years we’ve had a lot less of that going on. We need to really get back to doing those things and incentivize private business to move these people, because in a lot of Middle America, they're stuck there. For a variety reasons, Charles: their mortgage could still be upside down, they're not on the coasts where real estate recovered quickly. They could be just stuck there in terms of being able to have the money to go find a job -- it’s expensive.

Payne: Right, and a lot of times they’re stuck because they may not necessarily have that skill set. I think that's the crux of the issue here. Now I know one of the issues is the Great Recession. A lot of people who worked for instance on an oil rig, or welders or carpenters, they did something else. There's a lack of apprenticeship, there's not that next generation who got that hands-on training.

Should corporations step up to the plate and provide it? We've heard the CEO of IBM talking about these so called “new collar” jobs, not “white collar,” not “blue collar,” but “new collar.” So, there's a lot of jobs out there, manufacturing and across the board, and the problem seems to me that everyone's saying we need to do something, but no one wants to step into the void and present a solution.

Hitt: I’m with you. Really, the solution is not just corporations on their own. It's a combination of the public and private sectors coming together and putting together these training facilities. You're exactly right. They need to be super flexible, they need to be modern. We're going to learn a different way for the next economy. If we don't figure that out now, we're going to be in trouble 30 years from now, not just the problems we have today. Education and training has got to shift dramatically -- and I'm really saying K-12, and vocational training after that -- so everyone's going to learn differently.

Payne: Todd, I think we're all coming to that realization. Todd Hitt, thank you very much.

Hitt: Thank you very much. Good to be here.


This video was first featured on Fox Business on May 8, 2018.